tv Book Discussion on This Nonviolent Stuffll Get You Killed CSPAN August 24, 2014 1:00am-2:18am EDT
it's getting ready to be made into a made-for-tv movie, so we're excited about that as well. >> what are you reading this summer? tell us what's on your summer reading list. tweet us @booktv, post it to our facebook page or send us an e-mail, email@example.com: >> charles cobb, former field secretary for the student nonviolent coordinating committee or sncc, recounts the possession is and use of firearms by civil rights activist for self-protection during the 1950s and '60s. this is about an hour, 15 minutes. ..
and it is more often distorted morris and any bias. you could spot bias. if something is left out you don't know it is left out. this is a problem with history and of particularly a problem with history of this other freedom with what to a place in alabama or mississippi or the black belt sauce. it is mostly shaped by what
has not been told. with my dissatisfaction with the history of the movement and that problem operates of several different levels. so when i did the book in 20011 is a book about education to give it to people in mississippi include being a principal in the middle school in the old neighborhood in jackson. and then came up here with the middle school students a half-dozen of them.
frankly middle school. and as it happens the school is across the street from the public library. so i decided to engage the middle school kids that i half jokingly called home old guy talk and ask if they knew anything about who the library was named after id not know what new. and my right came and i told her that she is important to mississippi today i said i would be back in a few days
and i would tell them some things and i would tell them the story about mrs. haber. but i said i knew her and whether the kids may be 13 years old job to his feet and stared at me and said mr. cobb, you was a life back then? [laughter] and i am talking about some lady was on a library. how could i know? [laughter] to be famous or old enough and i said something is kelso then it period tubman.
[laughter] trying to figure out the struggle against slavery. [laughter] but it did place it my mind the necessity of doing the history if anybody would meet that necessity and i literally shifted gears will have very little for the affairs with the equations came out to concentrate on how to say in reidy -- in writing what is important but what i write is not the whole story.
it is trying to fill in that this is the 50th anniversary in it is commemorated in that is what brought me to mississippi on this particular trip. i have a problem the way that it is like that. as if it came at of nowhere. it is not connected to anything. some kids from the north came to free the downtrodden we were talking about the public's understanding of history.
asked me. i think they can find it without even a book more. frederick douglass and his 1855 autobiography complaint about abolitionist. i will tell you how. frederick douglass complained that william lloyd garrison thought it weakened their cause they only wanted them junior raked wrong been named douglas of those speaking for slavery i was now
reading and thinking. however he did not have the plantation and manner of speech from the anti-slavery society who won't come from douglas that you would not believe he was a slave. the abolitionist then went on to state "give us the facts. we will take care of the rest. [laughter] the problem is still with us it is important to understand the context with is not the story about a shootout or cowboys soared
gunfighters but it is the movement story a freedom movement to why they chose to take the actions they took. and guns were important. so i choose to do this story party because my somewhat cynical reporter and i know if i put guns in the title to linkage to civil-rights you will think what is this guy writing about? part of it i do think because they do think to ask about this title of the book "this nonviolent stuff'll get you killed" comes from a former gladys small farm in
desegregation and in the other part of the movement it is grounding grass-roots organizing and what happened in 1960 was part of a very, very old tradition to not seek the seat at the plantation table there were not organizing larches. what were they doing? they were organizing sometimes it was sabotage sometimes it was assassination.
sometimes it was just the escape and just organizing the ways to survive and live that had to be a very strange world and if you look at black history in the united states use the history of organized efforts to take various forms and this other movement that erupted in places like greenwood mississippi from when cleveland mississippi began organizing or macomb mississippi when the first bench of people entered to get voter registration. far earlier than naacp or
any of the others. >> the most common thread that is important to understand in what i portray in the book. we use guns obviously used in slavery and in the post civil war effort to the paleface brotherhood of bunch of organizations seeking tulu dismember the fledgling attempts at creating democracy in the south of follow civil war. black veterans of world war i and a world war ii
have a very large presence in this book because after world war i and especially after world war ii with the fight for freedom in this house. this is the guy who pulled sncc in to mississippi and the pharmacists that became the president of the naacp. it is all over the south and i argue in the back -- in the book change the climate of the south. there is a whole story i don't tell in this book about the slaughter of black
veterans. the story that i tell in this book are the black veterans who survived and willing to be in the coal or 21 years old and sncc project director was the old guy. these veterans always had their weapons ready. how and why. largely made up of world war ii a korean veterans with the southern freedom movement. and how they came to organize to protect in the
louisiana. and a gun culture is a part of the south. between 1962 and 1967 and i'd never work to the home that did not have a shot dead in the quarter. to ask if you know, how to use it in mrs. hamer said i have for shotguns in my bedroom. i have shotguns in every corner of my bedroom. the first cracker that tries to throw dynamite on my porch will not write his momma again. and martin luther king had pistols in his home and the
journalist that went to interview king was sinking in the armchair there is a couple of pistils of the chair and then the citizens just self-defense and when they blew up his home he went to apply for the concealed gun permit to. yet the representative from the fellowship of reconciliation would help martin mr. king but he was alive and in this gathering here to lay claim that
brought martin luther king of non-violent says a way of life. to take note of the fact than is what he did when he was alive. the easiest way is all you have to do just understand black people are human beings and react to terror with violence directed at friends and family the way anybody reacts to do the best they can to protect. and all these other counties in mississippi grabbing a rifle or of a shotgun to
nobody was paying attention ever go in and they said we will not accept this and more. and have the effect but the point i am trying to make it is not just black guerrilla warfare. it is simply a portrayal of love life here although it is not a memoir this is the history and the other thing that i should say, i tried to do in this book again, and i tried to connect the dots of american
history of why white supremacy emerged and the founding contradictions are a and they carried over all the way to the 20th century when we began working in the south. bob moses likes to have the audience join him with a recitation of the preamble to the united states constitution the first three words are we the people in the preamble to the constitution -- constitution. it does not say me the white people. read the southerners. it does not say we the new
englanders. it says we the people. and he likes to launch a discussion after this recitation. we also use the constitution in my discussion we hold these truths to be self-evident to be endowed with certain unalienable rights and thomas jefferson was being served also when he wrote that. he had 200 on his plantation but not to be held to this but the first memory is us -- being carried on the palo by the african slave so this
connects to the situation of black people today. that is why white people were invented and i discussed that in the book. [laughter] there is old history the you don't understand that if you read to the address scott decision most often quoted part he was a slave brought by his master by a free state then sued for his freedom and lost and it went to the supreme court.
but the chief justice said we cannot have blacks being citizens of the united states. they could purchase a pate in the political process. they could make the united states on stable. in with that passage is that the black man has no rights that is to redouble decision. in for what thinking was like to help them understand why they fought so hard in the '60s for the right to vote so i have all that you can connect the red dots in history.
whether it is the westward expansion were the civil war is not very good. many people resent you putting history on the table. why you wind so much? when you make as simple straight for presence? sova to clarify a his concern. it is not the whole story of american history but the attempts to offer some clarity on this and guns are just a handy way to do this
because you katchis ready is attention. to say martin luther king had guns and his house. and sncc living with these farmers and they were men and women and more of mickey the legendary family to know the history of of the movement the sheriff came out, the police chief care about to try to persuade her not the farm to be used for the civil rights rally. but the police chief did not want her in a threatening
manner. but when this is minkes that in the rocking chair there was a winchester. and when she picked it up this is my land. and you don't have permission to be on my land say you should leave maile and. and then the rally was held. %and then the rally was held. then is how these tough fierce people and i take go on and on of the old confederates and tuscaloosa alabama was protected by world war ii in a and korean war veterans.
a and i am a reporter. i am not a scholar i depend as a writer on scholarship for all my criticism and his geography emerging since the mid '80s the new scholarship that gets history from the bottom up instead of the top down. with the grass roots efforts if i could give a commercial here and in the book:mississippi we will shoot back.
i should give you though whole printout. [laughter] these are the books at the time. [laughter] ended is quite helpful to people like me but by a reporter. but i will tell you a story. that is with this book attempts to do. let me tell you a story of guns. and how they worked and who had them and held they fit in with sncc all having officially declare themselves non-violent and yes there were sometimes tensions between the possession of guns in the use of guns and non-violent activism.
so you'd be to see how she became an expert in china. she was active her husband was not. i asked him about it. and he said charlie, i know you are non-violent and i am not going to that court house and as somebody messes with me i will shoot them. and that will cause trouble. so that is how that works. to never see himself as a participant in the non-violent movement with no contradiction in the movement in the non-violent
equations were different had it been characterized against this movement? >> the short answer is i don't know. the question of phraseology is interesting. more often than not we will characterize the movement affirmatively as the freedom movement one of the historians, if i can find it, talking about, first i
will read two sections that a young scholar at ohio state university is making the argument as it appears in his book that the movement is better characterized as a freedom rights movement rather than civil-rights and in terms of your question it is worth listening to what korn the past to say. it is a freight for rights to a knowledge emancipation to conceptualization of freedom to incorporate so long history of black protest dating back to the daybreak of freedom and extending beyond to recognize the african-american's civil and
human rights objectives to capture the universality of the goals. war over it allows for regional and temporal differentiation of moment of radicalization and periods of social movement. i think much of the civil-rights establishment did not take the approach. fighting against jim crow. but if leadership has this idea to have a stronger
movement we would have had much more effective black politicians. beyond that particular statement and harding to passed away tragically and citing books for the books list since there is a history of reconstruction and talking with them to interview him so what i have in mind for this book i want to remind you of something.
it is not just again something good to bring something into being. the heart of the non-violent struggle was of a new society. end he was deeply devoted to nonviolence. budget i found it necessary and i did not anticipate this. to bring into the discussion of nonviolence. the people who were committed as a way of life.
there is the reason why a person like mrs. hamer is projected a of people see her as the grandmother they had who had some words of freedom. >> i have the view of that in a political sense is citizenship. who gets full citizenship? the way in the country is set up from the very beginning with whole groups of people, women who have the right to vote black people who did not vote guaranteed through 1965. now in the united states?
because people are afraid of that. to see this for education to get quality public education. slow to decide on one hand we want good schools with the meaningful effort in something very simple but a quality education at a 12th grade level to enroll in college without taking remedial courses. and as frederick douglass says reedy and writing and
reading what you are raising is is is a question. you have power and how do they use it? that is something more difficult and complicated that i could talk to about from my coach here. i am wondering about its image i have personally of guns like the black panther party i think of them going to that open city council
then all of a sudden they're ready talk about gun control. there were a couple of references to the black panther party of california in the epilogue excuse me the black panther party specifically the image of the black panther emerges from alabama and for those who went in there. in their last as a kid use the panthers and the panther itself came from the year book. [laughter] and then clark college.
[laughter] ended does that go into the northern issues that all. and by the black panther party and others that i could think of the of the revolutionary actions. it is different than the south willis pretty much done says a defensive measure first of all, against even the you could hardly be called the of party aid to guerrilla organization but the issues they were dealing with were different than police with the issue of using guns as
it existed with a particular problem in the plant in the way that it didn't emerge in the south. there was no thought i thought it was too much to put to put into one book the discussion of the panther that was enormously complicated and complex and again the black panther party has been grossly oversimplified the complexities doesn't.
>> this is one area to look. that is the inadequacy answer. >> but a quick follow-up what about the authorities for the counter revolutionize? >> it did that really happen in the south. we're talking world culture. after mrs. hamer tried to register to vote all whole group of people the night riders came through a and the mayor who was also president and then to
broadcast the local news. and he said the voting efforts was fatally and indeed did publicity. the best way to get publicity was to claim the white people did it. that was his reasoning. so he hands me over to the brother of the man who kills him. but then to confiscate and that was evidence. into the a good discussion because when they get back he is worried about his gun. because southerners it was not the primary reason, they
were pork. they used the guns to keep government out of the gardens and self-defense is the third item on the list of reasons seveners have guns. so joe mcdonald is now worrying about what to do without his gun. and i tell him he has a right to his gun. he asked me if i was sure to have a history book the of u.s. constitution and i read the second amendment to allow. and deadeye right down the
world -- the road said see? it says you never write to your gun. and mr. joe told me to fold over the page and took it from me he was 76 and could not read or write. he took the book from me nobody thought more about it and then we noticed he was not around so we asked his wife. she said he went to get his gun you said it was all right. now mississippi is murders the violent and our concern is you will get himself killed because he will go get his gun because i said he had a right to his gun but i was not prepared to
live that. we would rush to try to catch him but he had a raggedy truck and he said told the mayor. i come to get my gun. what did he say? he said i did not have a right and he said i did not have a right to make an. so what do do then? i told him again i come to get my gun. and then i told him and i held up the book and i said to killed the mayor this book says i do. [laughter] i'm not sure all the social dynamics but it is one of
the few instances that i can recall offical authority to take a weapon from someone he police will come up with fire trucks and this is february or march. it is cold. the fire many are getting ready to cheer the hoses birmingham style to those students and are picketing the school because the teacher is kicked out so as support for the movement but when a carload of deacons